Devon Data Loom

Putting Devon's open data to work

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Hot off the press

There’s news on several fronts in this month’s post; following on from the Open Data Forum held on Wednesday we have several announcements to make. But first, have a look at the notes from the Forum itself.

Peter Wells - Open Addresses

Peter Wells – Open Addresses

This was a fascinating talk not just about the work that Open Addresses are trying to do, but the way we manage address information in the first place. So we learned that postcodes have a half life; that digital cholera is, apparently, a thing – and that ATMs have postcodes while villages halls do not.

Our next Open Data Forum will be held in Totnes on Wednesday 29th April, and we’re putting together an environmental theme – join our Meetup group or drop us an email if you want to know more.

On to the announcements …

Event – Beyond the Smart City

ODI Devon are pleased to announce their first major event, Beyond the Smart City – 3 days of exploring what big data, open data and the Internet of Things mean for communities outside the concentrated urban centres that have been getting so much of the focus. See the website for more information about the event, and note that we are looking for speakers and suggested topics – if you have any ideas we’d love to hear from you!

Open data challenges

NESTA and the Open Data Institute have announced a series of challenges around open data, inviting submissions for funding to develop products using open data to support different themes. The current theme is Jobs and our own Dave Kilroy is looking for partners to develop his idea (more information here). Take a look, or maybe you have an idea of your own? The deadline for submission is midday on 30th March, so there’s no time to lose … don’t forget you need to register on Collab Finder before you can upload a project.

Free workshops!

ODI Devon will be offering a series of free workshops in the next few months, covering the beginnings and basics of working with open data and finding out what use it has for you and your organisation. If that sounds like something you could use or you know someone who’d be interested, get in touch here to talk about your requirements.



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Updates and interesting times

It has been a busy few months, and we at the Loom need to apologise for not blogging as regularly as we might … In our defence though, we have been involved in several very exciting projects.

The Open Data Forum last Wednesday was well attended again, and thank you to everyone who came to listen to our speakers and engage in the discussion. Planning is afoot for our next event in early December – we’ll keep you posted as we confirm the details.

On to the exciting new projects:

We’re now able to announce an Open Data Institute Node for Devon; ODI Devon will be a Communications Node initially, which means it will amplify and promote any good work on open data that’s going on locally as well as bringing news of national and global initiatives. The official press release will be out soon.

Oliver Buckley, Deputy Director of, will be visiting Devon County Council on Monday December 1st, and as part of the itinerary we’d like to give him the chance to speak to Open Data Forum and Devon Data Loom members. If you’d be interested in this, drop us a line and we can work out the details.

On the same day we will be arranging an Open Data Workshop for council staff and partners, where we would like them to have the opportunity to hear from developers and data consumers about why we need to release more data sets and what benefits that would bring. If you’d like to be one of those speakers please get in touch and tell us what examples or ideas you’d like to tell them about.

On the collaborative front Devon will be working with Jamie Whyte from Trafford Innovation Lab on the next phase of the Indices of Sporting Needs project (do read Jamie’s blog post on the subject here). We’re particularly interested in seeing how a city initiative can translate to a rural and more dispersed population, and this is also going to be a big focus for ODI Devon’s work in the coming months.

If you’d like to know more about any of these updates, email us at – we’d be delighted to hear from you!



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Step into the light

In  all the excitement, we forgot to talk about who we are …

The Devon Data Loom was set up for two reasons: the first was to create a landing page for the community side of the Cloche project. As the team are on a lean start-up accelerator, we have to do things quickly and often before we have time to decide whether or not it’s a good idea or the best possible option. Do it, try it, fail if necessary, do something else … being as both of us are local government to the core this is some miles outside our usual comfort zone. Fortunately we learn fast.

The second is a longer term aim, to bring together the open data resources, links and experts for Devon in one place in sincere imitation and flattery of the awesome Leeds Data Mill. Those guys are who we want to be when we grow up, and we’d like to publicly thank them for taking some time to explain their model to us.

You can find out more about us on the HubLaunchpad accelerator website, and follow our progress through the team blogs.

If you’re interested in anything we’re up to and fancy a chat, get in touch!

Martin Howitt  and Lucy Knight

Email –

Twitter – @DevonDataLoom

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Getting to know you …

No, we’re not going to sing. This is the first post to say hello to everyone out there, and we hope you’ll get in touch and tell us how we can help you. If you’re looking for data to crunch, trying to get help with analysis or presentation, hoping to build an app or just looking for people to bounce ideas around with, you’ve come to the right place.

Send us an email, tweet us, leave us a comment and most importantly, tell all your friends.